London, December 3 (RHC)-- Protesters took to the streets in central London to demonstrate against Donald Trump as the U.S. president participates in a NATO meeting in the British capital. As NATO leaders convened in Buckingham Palace to mark the alliance's 70th anniversary at the Heads of State summit on Tuesday evening, crowds voiced their fury over increased defence spending, the development of nuclear weapons and what many see as Trump's destructive influence on UK politics.
Thousands of protesters marched from Trafalgar Square to the royal residence, where the Queen was hosting a reception for NATO leaders. They came out to protest against host of issues, including the inclusion of the National Health Service in UK-U.S. trade talks, Trump's policy in the Middle East, an increase in NATO defence spending and what many see as a destructive "special relationship" between the UK and United States.
Demonstrators held signs saying "Cut war, not healthcare" and "Stop Trump's nuclear arms race.
On Wednesday, the leaders will meet at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire, some 20 miles (30 km) north of the capital.
Several UK politicians, including opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have accused Trump of interfering in Britain's upcoming election after Trump called into a radio show hosted by Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage on November 1, urging the far-right figure to forge an alliance with Johnson in pursuit of Brexit.
During a 52-minute press conference on Tuesday in London alongside NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump said he was a "fan of Brexit" but refused to comment on the election in general, despite having previously said Corbyn, a leftist, would be "so bad" for Britain if he won.
On mounting allegations that the U.S. is interested in the NHS, Britain's public national health service, from a trade perspective, he said: "I don't even know where that rumor started. We have absolutely nothing to do with it and we wouldn't want to if you handed it to us on a silver platter, we want nothing to do with it."
It's not a perspective appreciated by the protesters. "I don't trust Trump's deals with Johnson, especially about the NHS," said theatre worker Lucy. "We are deeply privileged to have one of the best healthcare services in the world. Trump, his trade deals and his chlorinated chicken aren't welcome here."